Bombers and Knights Renew Acquaintances at DeMarco Stadium on Friday Night
OLD BRIDGE, NJ—On Friday night, Big Central Gridiron will be paying a visit to Lombardi Field and DeMarco Stadium to see both the hometown Old Bridge Knights take on the Sayreville Bombers in a renewal of a neighborhood rivalry of old Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division schools. It will be the first time that BCG will be seeing the Knights and Bombers play in almost two years.
Both teams enter Friday night’s contest as winners of their respective divisions in the Big Central Conference. Old Bridge , currently ranked 5th in the latest BCG’s Middlesex County Top 10 won the BCC Division 5C title while Sayreville, ranked 3rd in Middlesex County, and 9th in this week’s Big Central Gridiron Top 10, won BCC’s Division 5D. Each team will qualify for the playoffs in their respective super sections.
Sayreville (6-2), competing in the North Group 4 super section this year, is currently ranked 6th behind Woodbridge coming into the cutoff weekend. If you recall, the Bombers lost to the Barrons (42-28) in Week 2. Sayreville has 19.38 power points and an OSI of 54.59 for a UPR of 6.6. Meanwhile, Old Bridge, which competes in South Group 5, is ranked 7th behind Kingsway. The Knights have 16.88 power points and an OSI of 48.24 for a UPR of 8.4.
The Knights are ranked behind fellow Big Central schools such as Hillsborough (8-0) and North Brunswick (6-2), which are ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively in the super section. The Knights (6-2) played North Brunswick in Week 2, and lost 34-27 at DeMarco Stadium. North Brunswick travels to Hillsborough for a Battle of the Raiders on Friday Night at Noonan Field starting at 7:00 PM.
Other Big Central schools in the playoff mix in the North Group 4 super section with Sayreville include Colonia (6-2), Ridge (5-2), Scotch Plains-Fanwood (5-4), North Hunterdon (4-4), Linden (3-4), and Montgomery (3-4). Woodbridge, Colonia, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, North Hunterdon, Linden, and Montgomery are all in BCC’s Division 4. Woodbridge just lost to Scotch Plains-Fanwood last week, and the Raiders play Colonia this afternoon at 5:00 PM.
Old Bridge also lost to Hillsborough recently (44-0) at Noonan Field on October 15th while Sayreville was edged by Bridgewater-Raritan (17-14) on a late field goal in Week 1 in Bomber Country. Both teams are coming off wins last week with the Knights defeating J.P. Stevens (43-0) in North Edison while Sayreville defeated New Brunswick (28-9) in the Hub City. After losing its first two, Sayreville has won six in a row including a recently added forfeit win over St. Joseph’s by the NJSIAA.
Since Madison Central and Cedar Ridge merged to form Old Bridge High School for the 1994-95 academic year, the Knights have faced the Bombers a total of 22 times with Sayreville winning the lion’s share of the contests 14-8. Old Bridge won the first two meetings in 1994 and 1995, but then the Bombers won 12 of the next 13 including including seven straight from 2006 to 2012. The Knights have won 5 of the last 7 with the two teams not playing in 2020.
In addition to not playing each other in 2020, the the two neighborhood rivals didn’t face each other from 1996 to 1999. However from 2000 to 2019, the two schools met every year except for 2014 when Sayreville forfeited as a result of its season being cancelled. Of the course of the 22 game series, Sayreville has outscored Old Bridge by a margin of 523 to 323, or by an average of about 24 to 15 per contest.
Sayreville holds the largest margin of victory of 34 points in a 41-7 victory in 2010 and also defeated Old Bridge 32-0 in 2007. Old Bridge won the closest game in the history of the rivalry with a 22-21 overtime win at Sayreville on November 3, 2017. Old Bridge’s largest win in the rivalry was by 28 in 1995 (40-12). Despite being in Central Jersey Group 4 and CJ Group 5 many times over the years, the two teams never played each other in the playoffs.
Both Sayreville and Old Bridge are led by two fine QBs. The Knights are led by senior quarterback, Owen Haughney, who has completed 52 of 82 passes this season for 823 yards and 9 TDs while throwing only two interceptions. Haughney has also rushed 60 times for 336 yards, and 9 more scores. Sayreville is led by junior QB and three sport athlete, Mike Colonnello, who has completed 27 of 54 passes for 430 yards and 3 TDs while rushing 34 times for 172 yards and a TD.
Both teams also have fine running backs as well. Sayreville’s rushing attack is spearheaded by sophomore Zaimer Wright, who has rushed 149 times for 1140 yards and 17 TDs. Wright has also caught 8 passes for 51 yards, returned 5 kickoffs for 85 yards, and returned a punt for 22 yards. He is averaging 8 yards per touch this season. Meanwhile, Old Bridge’s ground game is led by senior Lawrence Hunter, who has 1,054 yards on 165 carries for 13 TDs. Hunter also has 3 catches for 28 yards, and returned two kickoffs for 31 yards to average 6.5 yards per touch.
Each team has a reliable target at wide receiver. Old Bridge’s passing attack features two top targets at receiver: Jake McAleavey and Evan Sobieski. McAleavey leads the Knights in receiving with 27 catches for 419 yards and 4 TDs. He has also rushed 9 times for 62 yards and another score, returned a kickoff 8 yards and a punt 10 yards. Sobieski, who has a kickoff return for 5 yards, ranks 2nd in receiving with 7 receptions for 148 yards and 2 TDs. Ethan Myers has also contributed with 9 catches for 90 yards.
Meanwhile, for Sayreville, senior wideout, Tim Mayer leads the Bombers with 9 catches for 233 yards and 2 TDs. Junior Caidan Holmes, who also plays basketball, ranks 3rd on the team behind Mayer and Wright with 3 receptions for 46 yards while also leading the team in kickoff returns with 8 for 149 yards including a long of 84 and in total tackles with 43.
On defense, senior Denzel Osae leads the Bombers with 4 sacks while ranking 2nd behind Holmes in total tackles with 31. Holmes, Claude Blagogee, and Rodney Acquah each are tied for 2nd on the team with two 2 sacks. Junior Brian Clyne leads the Bombers in interceptions with two while Holmes leads the team in fumble recoveries with 3.
For Old Bridge, the defense is led by Sobieski, who has 34 total tackles, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and recoveries, and 5 interceptions. Junior Tyler Sagi has 25 total tackles and two fumble recoveries while Myers has 22 total tackles. Senior Luke Maisonet has 19 total tackles including 4 for loss, and a sack. Hunter has 14 total tackles including 12 solos, one forced fumble, a tackle for loss, and half a sack.
Both of these teams have had a history of good kickers. For Sayreville, Senior Santana Fonseca, who has 11 total tackles on defense, has made all 4 of his field goal attempts including a season long of 31 yards versus Piscataway on October 8th, and 8 of 9 extra point attempts. Meanwhile, Old Bridge’s kicking duties are handled by junior Ben Lomicky, who has converted 22 of 30 extra point tries.
Coming into Friday night’s game, Sayreville has outscored its opponents by a margin of 187-119, or by an average of about 27 to 17 per game in the seven contests the Bombers have played on the field. Meanwhile, Old Bridge has outscored its foes by a margin of 275 to 188, or by an average of 34 to 24 per contest.
This game should be a good one. This clash of division winners and long time neighborhood rivals has been much more competitive in recent years with Old Bridge winning 5 of the last 9 contests. Both teams have played North Brunswick with the Bombers defeating the Raiders at Libro Field in Week 3 (35-22) and Old Bridge losing to the Raiders at DeMarco Stadium in Week 2 (34-27).
Prediction: Sayreville wins, 27-24.